SOME nights can make or break careers. Like when you're starting your second game trying to snap a four-game losing streak against a rival.
Maybe we'll look back in 10 years and remember Friday as the night Noah Lolesio announced his arrival to the rugby world.
Because while his debut in round one was solid, leading the ACT Brumbies, featuring Berry's Will Miller, to a 39-26 win at Canberra Stadium was when he really stood up.
In a 70-minute performance there were flick passes, drop goals, try assists and enough to suggest the future is bright for a "special" Lolesio.
The Brumbies ended their drought against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night, igniting Canberra Stadium in the first half to set up a 13-point win.
The performance was patchy, which should be expected this season as a new generation settles into Super Rugby.
Lolesio will attract most of the attention because of his No. 10 role, but the scrum was impressive and Pete Samu was the gamebreaker.
Lolesio is already playing like a veteran. Two moments of first-half brilliance and then composure with the game in the balance erased any early doubts about his No. 10 credentials.
He set up the second try of the game with a no-look pass and not long after put through a grubber to set up the Brumbies' fourth of the first half.
His drop goal with 10 minutes left was the play of a confident flyhalf.
"I was pretty nervous in round one, but this whole week I just felt like it was footy. Yeah, it was a bit ugly at times, but I felt relaxed," Lolesio said as fans swarmed around him after full-time.
"The drop goal ... I thought why not? A bit of scoreboard pressure. I guess it just came off."
Wallabies great Phil Kearns even mistook Lolesio for one of his idols, Matt To'omua, in commentary.
"I see so much in common with [Lolesio and To'omua]. The smoothness of the pass, the ease of running, a really silky sort of player," Kearns said.
"Gee he's going to have a big future, this bloke, if he keeps playing like that. Special."
"I love the way he's playing the game, he's not panicking. He got caught deep, but showed composure."
Beating the Rebels gives the Brumbies a perfect platform to launch their season.
They're now two wins from two games and will face their first New Zealand opponent when they play the Otago Highlanders next weekend.
Scott Sio and Tom Cusack suffered head knocks and failed to return to the field, but an eight-day turnaround will increase their chances of being fit for round three.
The injuries were minor speed humps in an otherwise dominant start to the clash against the Rebels as the Brumbies roared like a freight train.
Irae Simone opened the Brumbies' account inside the first five minutes, then Lolesio's class led to Tom Banks opening up a 14-0 lead.
Tom Cusack was next and then Solomone Kata to leave the Rebels stunned.
"It was a very good start. We didn't talk about it, but we knew they were going to come out firing and we had to do the same," said Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.
"Execution was outstanding and then we just put pressure on them. They came back at us, but we regained momentum and finished the game off."
The momentum changed when the visitors finally got their first penalty in the 33rd minute and the Brumbies started to wobble.
The Rebels drew confidence from past comeback wins against the Brumbies and they rallied and chipped away at the margin to get within striking distance.
Angus Cottrell bagged a double and Dane Haylett-Petty sliced through, but Lolesio was calm under pressure and nailed a drop goal before Tom Wright juggled his way over the line to put the Brumbies in a bonus-point position.
It slipped away with time running out, Frank Lomani scoring in the corner to finish the match and deny the Brumbies a crucial extra point.
"We fell off at the end but proud of the effort," Simone said.
"The learnings from last week, we didn't capitalise on back-foot space and it paid off on the field."
The Rebels are now reeling after back-to-back losses to start the season.
"This was always going to be a tough start to the season, an away trip in Japan and we get to go home now and with some confidence after the back end of the game," said Rebels coach Dave Wessels.
"In some ways I' proud of the boys. It's taken us four flights including internationals from Japan on a six-day turnaround to come here.
Effectively finish the stronger team and we were playing with a lot of temp towards the back of the game, that's given us a lot of confidence.
"We're obviously disappointed to lose, we just had a really poor start and it was hard to find our way back from that but we never stopped trying and took a bonus point away from them at the back end of the game which I think at the end of the season is going to matter, so I think little things like that we'll take heart from."
AT A GLANCE
ACT BRUMBIES 39 (Irae Simone, Tom Banks, Tom Cusack, Solomone Kata, Folau Faingaa, Tom Wright tries; Noah Lolesio 3 conversions, drop goal) btMELBOURNE REBELS 28 (Angus Cottrell 2, Dane Haylett-Petty, Frank Lomani tries; Frank Lomani 2, Matt To'omua conversions) at Canberra Stadium on Friday night. Referee: Nic Berry. Crowd: 7098